What follows started out as a comment on Wades blog but grew exponentially and, therefore, had to become a post on my own blog. I'm aware that some of my friends may disagree with me here but real friendships are never based on the necessity of agreement on all things discussed so I'm confident my real friendships WILL remain intact.
To give context___I have struggled for years with the non-sensicle content, in my personal judgment, of the baptist church covenant that has been used in traditional baptist churches for years. So great the struggle that in my last pastorate we laid it aside in favor of one we drew up ourselves. This post addresses only a couple of those covenant statements that I hold to be non-sensicle. [That's a real word..look it up. :)]
Add to all that the fact that in the comment section of Wade's blog that church covenant is being used as a reason to abstain from any use of alcohol__ ever __because it makes drinking at all a sin and you see why I started my comment. But it grew..and grew..and grew..well you understand why it is now a post. [Drunkenness is not at issue here. It IS a sin according to scripture.]
Now remember, no one is saying that abstinence isn't a good decision for many if not most christians generally speaking. But when abstinence becomes a requirement for one to be biblical or holy or a baptist, and anything else is a sin, we've got problems. Please be respectful and civil in any comments you might want to make. Thanks in advance.
With regards to the church covenant used in baptist life for years, I for one, believe it not to be the best. To codify abstinence in any church covenant creates a standard not found in scripture therefore is a dangerous standard for any church IMHO. Not WRONG to do since a church can codify whatever they wish as a standard for members but DANGEROUS.
[It WOULD also be honest to state such is NOT based on scripture.]
Why dangerous? Because it takes away the opportunity for those believers to compare themselves to the Jesus who drank wine with sinners BUT HAD NO SIN and DID NOT HIDE ANY SIN. [As I read one person say a while back.] I believe anytime you diminish your ability to identify with Jesus you have lost a great personal moment and a truly biblical view.
[If someone says He didn't drink wine it makes the accusation of being a wine bibber meaningless and Jesus generally had done what his accusers said as when He was said to have eaten with sinners. He had. They just thought He shouldn't have. Luke 15]
With this false standard in a church covenant what one winds up with is a group of church people whose lives are pure by their own measurement and gives them a standard that they can use to examine other believers to make sure THEY comply with what that church perceives as God's expectations... but really aren't.
You also wind up with a group that majors on one statement in a church covenant [abstinence] but generally dismisses another. That being a statement in that same covenant that requires daily devotions for the family. [Which is also a non-biblical standard. Good but non-biblical.] Then they hide their own failure by non-emphasis of that particular standard. [Since most church families DO NOT have daily family devotions.]
The consequencial outcome of non-biblical standards is that it measures sin in a way scripture doesn't, it often hides the committing of another sin, [created by that false standard] and it thus creates hypocrisy. As I said...dangerous stuff there.
This is why I believe a church covenant should be a carefully crafted and thought through document using as much as possible biblical standards only. Where other standards are used for whatever reason they should be identified as non-biblical and cultural only. To do so could sometimes be useful. But those standards certainly should not be identified as SINFUL.
By the way...One statement made was that if Jesus were living today He WOULD NOT drink because our culture of lost people would think it sinful for Him to do so. I don't think our theology for life ought to be based on speculation of what Jesus WOULD do as much as on what Jesus DID do as recorded in scripture.
Just my thoughts on a subject we can disagree on and still be saved I know and still be a baptist I hope.